By Wally Kennedy
AURORA, Mo. — Thomas Patterson and Whitney Harrison, students at Crowder College in Neosho, got a crash course Monday in modern farming methods when they signed up for U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt’s 13th annual Southwest Missouri Agricultural Tour.
The two were among nearly 50 people who participated in the first day of the two-day tour that started in Springfield and concluded in Sarcoxie. The tour today will feature stops in Springfield and Morrisville.
Harrison, who is interested in agricultural education and marketing, said she was impressed with a poultry farm where rows of trees have been planted to diminish odor.
“Planting trees to reduce the pollution — the odor — was interesting,” she said, noting that it is something she might use in a classroom someday. “It’s going to take a lot of testing and experimentation to determine what works best.”
Patterson, whose family has been in the dairy business for 60 years, said the tour will visit a couple of dairy farms.
“I’m looking for cheaper ways to produce milk,” he said. “I don’t believe there is a cheaper way, but I’m looking.”
Farming operations in Southwest Missouri, he noted, have been hit hard by increasing energy and feed costs.
Monday’s tour started with a stop at a demonstration garden in Nathanael Greene Park in southwest Springfield where Master Gardeners have created a French potager, or kitchen garden. The tour then went to a poultry farm operated by Jim and Sharon Shepherd, east of Aurora.
The Shepherds operate four poultry houses with more than 90,000 birds. They are participating in a federal demonstration project that places three rows of bushes and trees around the poultry barns to reduce odor.
The $25,000 test was designed by Skip Mourglia, with the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Trees stretching more than a mile also are being planted to reduce odor emanating from Moark operations in Newton County.
<img src="http://www.joplinglobeonline.com/images/zope/extra.gif" border=0>Farmers attempt to reduce environmental impact<font color="#ff0000"> w/ slide show from ag tour</font>
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By Wally Kennedy
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